481. Paper Prepared by the 5412 Committee1
Washington, March 16, 1960.
A PROGRAM OF COVERT ACTION AGAINST THE CASTRO REGIME
- Objective: The purpose of the program outlined herein is to bring about the replacement of the Castro regime with one more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S. in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of U.S. intervention. Essentially the method of accomplishing this end will be to induce, support, and so far as possible direct action, both inside and outside of Cuba, by selected groups of Cubans of a sort that they might be expected to and could undertake on their own initiative. Since a crisis inevitably entailing drastic action in or toward Cuba could be provoked by circumstances beyond control of the U.S. before the covert action program has accomplished its objective, every effort will be made to carry it out in such a way as progressively to improve the capability of the U.S. to act in a crisis.
Summary Outline: The program contemplates four major courses of action:
- The first requirement is the creation of a responsible, appealing and unified Cuban opposition to the Castro regime, publicly declared as such and therefore necessarily located outside of Cuba, [3 sentences (10 lines) not declassified] (Tab A2)
- So that the opposition may be heard and Castro’s basis of popular support undermined, it is necessary to develop the means for mass communication to the Cuban people so that a powerful propaganda offensive can be initiated in the name of the declared opposition. The major tool proposed to be used for this purpose is a long and short wave gray broadcasting facility, probably to be located on Swan Island. [2 sentences (4 lines) not declassified] (Tab B)
- Work is already in progress in the creation of a covert intelligence and action organization within Cuba which will be responsive to the orders and directions of the “exile” opposition. [3 sentences (7 lines) not declassified]
- Preparations have already been made for the development of an adequate paramilitary force outside of Cuba, together with mechanisms for the necessary logistic support of covert military operations on the Island. Initially a cadre of leaders will be recruited after careful screening and trained as paramilitary instructors. In a second phase a number of paramilitary cadres will be trained at secure locations outside of the U.S. so as to be available for immediate deployment into Cuba to organize, train and lead resistance forces recruited there both before and after the establishment of one or more active centers of resistance. The creation of this capability will require a minimum of six months and probably closer to eight. In the meanwhile, a limited air capability for resupply and for infiltration and exfiltration already exists under CIA control and can be rather easily expanded if and when the situation requires. Within two months it is hoped to parallel this with a small air resupply capability under deep cover as a commercial operation in another country.
[Numbered paragraphs 3–5 (29 lines) not declassified] (Tab C3)
- Recommendations: That the Central Intelligence Agency be authorized to undertake the above outlined program [2 lines not declassified].
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Project “Clean Up” Records, Cuba. Secret; Eyes Only. An undated, unsigned note attached to the source text reads: “This document is our basic policy paper. It was approved by the President at a meeting in the White House on 17 March 1960.” For a record of this meeting, see Document 486. Also published, in part, in Declassified Documents, 1985, 1537.↩
- Tab A was not declassified.↩
- Tab C was not declassified.↩
- Secret; Eyes Only.↩